Machinists, Rep. Norcross Leading Charge for ‘Buy American’ Defense Expansion

An amendment championed by the IAM and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) that would dramatically increase domestically made procurement requirements in major defense programs has cleared a critical hurdle in Congress.

The IAM, North America’s largest aerospace defense union, has been pushing the increase for years in order to strengthen the defense industrial base and domestic supply chain while helping prevent vulnerabilities created by military products being made in China and other countries.

“Buy American policies serve the public good by targeting our tax dollars for the purchase of American-made products and services,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We must understand that the foundation of our industrial base lies with the skills and abilities of the American worker. Congressman Norcross’s amendment would help ensure that our tax dollars are used to support the U.S. workforce and the firms who employ them.” 

READ: Machinists Union letter supporting Rep. Norcross’s “Buy American” NDAA amendment

The amendment passed on a bipartisan vote during a House Armed Service Committee mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation would increase “Buy American” requirements for major defense programs from 55 percent to 60 percent upon the bill’s enactment. Requirements would further rise to 65 percent by 2024 and to 75 percent by 2029.

“I am proud to have fought for provisions that make America safer by investing in the American worker,” said Norcross. “This bill will put us on a path to build back better by increasing our domestic supply chain capabilities, strengthening our workforce, and giving our service members the tools they need to win the future fight.”

The number of Chinese suppliers in the U.S. defense industrial base has risen 420 percent since 2010, according to a report from the data analytics firm Govini.

Under Buy American defense procurement policy, Canadian produced military components are considered domestically made. The Norcross Buy American amendment retains a preference for Canadian-made military products.

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President Biden Honors Labor Unions, Essential Workers at White House

President Biden delivered a historic speech from the White House recognizing unions and essential workers for their sacrifices and courage in keeping America moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. The president honored the legacy of the late AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and took a moment of silence to remember working people who have passed away from the virus.  

The president called for the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, legislation that would repeal anti-worker “right-to-work” laws and encourage the formation of unions while expanding collective bargaining rights to more sectors of the economy. Biden also pushed for stronger “Buy American” rules, expanding elder and child care, and passing infrastructure investments and middle-class tax cuts through Congress.

Biden specifically mentioned Machinists Union members and other union members who have worked on the frontlines during the pandemic.

WATCH: President Biden honors labor unions at White House   

“President Biden has promised to be the most union-friendly president in our lifetime and he has kept his word,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The Biden-Harris administration continues to move a historic pro-worker, pro-democracy agenda that supports and grows the labor movement. Our members will continue fighting to help build back better for our nation’s aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, and all workers.”

“In my White House, labor will always be welcome,” said Biden. “When unions win, workers across the board win. Families win, communities win and America wins. And despite this, workers have been getting cut out of the deal for too long a time.” 

Biden’s pro-union address, which was preceded by speeches from U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, came after celebrating Labor Day with union workers in his home state of Delaware.

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Machinists Vow to Fight ‘Anti-Democratic, Anti-American’ Texas Voter Suppression Law

IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr., is urging union members and allies to help unseat the “right-wing radicals” who spearheaded the new Texas state law that suppresses voter rights.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed Senate Bill 1 into law after the Republican-led legislative passed it during a special session.

The new law sets restrictions such as banning 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting. The law also restricts officials from mailing unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and sets new requirements for those tasked with helping those with disabilities at the polls.

This is a blatant attempt by Abbott and the radical right to turn back the clock on voting rights when we should be making it easier to vote. 

The Machinists Union strongly pushed for the successful passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021  (H.R. 4) through the U.S. House of Representatives last month to fight back against laws just like this one. The legislation would restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that John Lewis fought for, and put us back on a path toward racial equity in voting.

Martinez, a Texas native, tweeted for IAM members and our allies to lift up “by defeating right-wing radicals at the ballot box and in the courts.”

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Registration Now Open for 2022 Winpisinger Center Leadership Programs

Registration Now Open for 2022 Winpisinger Center Leadership Programs

The Winpisinger Center’s call for 2022 Leadership Programs has been distributed to Local and District Lodges. The table of dates and a registration link for 2022 Leadership Programs are now available on the Winpisinger Center’s website.

Leadership Programs fill up quickly and members are encouraged to talk with their Lodge Officers concerning the registration and enrollment process. Members must be registered by an officer of their local lodge.

“The IAM places a high priority on the education of its membership,” said Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner. “After attending programs, members return home prepared to make a real and tangible contribution in their Local Lodge, in their workplace, and in the broader community. We look forward to engaging first-time and returning participants in 2022.”

The registration link is web-based and can be used to register participants for Leadership I, Leadership II, Advanced Leadership, and Train-the-Trainer. Participants also have the option to take Leadership I and Leadership II online (the dates for online courses are noted with an asterisk). A poster for Leadership Programs is available for print and download.

Questions about the registration process, travel, and enrollment status should be directed to Donna Hudson at 301-373-8820.

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Iowa Local 1045 Donates Welding Safety Equipment to Local High School

IAM Local 1045 members recently donated welding safety equipment to an Iowa high school. In conjunction with Snap-On, Local 1045 was able to buy welding jackets, sleeves, gloves, and welding hoods for the students at Algona High School.

“This was not only a great way to help out the kids, but also our community,” said Gwen Tracer, Local 1045 Secretary-Treasurer. “This project got the membership looking around to see where we could help more. With the new wave of the virus, fundraising has almost come to a halt, so we have looked into donating where we can, like the Algona Fire Department and the Exceptional Opportunities disability program of Algona, IA.”

“This donation was yet another example of our members supporting and giving back to the community,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The Midwest Territory has put increased importance on serving the communities where we work and live. My gratitude goes out to Local 1045 for finding ways to make a positive impact by aiding these students.”

The IAM Midwest Territory, along with their Districts and Locals, has hosted more than 20 “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” events, with more than 450 volunteers across the Territory, to date. Each District and Unaffiliated Local is tasked with hosting at least one event per year. For more information on the IAM Midwest Territory’s “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” program, click here .

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